Summary: This sermon and series is based from the "I Love My Church" series from Outreach Ministries. It has been heavily adapted to fit our context as a rural church. This week is all about breaking down the fences that keep us seperate from each other
I LOVE MY CHURCH
WEEK 2- Community
Key Passage: Hebrews 10:19-25
Before the Message: Obtain a small section of fencing. Wooden plank fencing would probably work better, but go with chain link if that’s all you can find. If you can’t find fencing, use an image of a wooden fence. Once fencing is on the stage, spend as much time speaking near it as possible.
***Would be good to have pictures of different fences being scrolled through here.****
They come in all shapes, sizes, and styles.
Let’s look at a few this morning- (have James scroll through)
Stop before you get to the last 2
Some are short, small, and transparent; others are walls of fortress. In every case, what is a fence designed to do?
Keep something in or keep something out, right?
***Tell a similar personal story to what follows.***
When I was growing up, my parents were among the first to move into a new neighborhood on the west side of Kenosha. After my mom died, I was looking through some old pictures that showed that the road was dirt for a few years before they finally paved it- we pretty much lived in a big muddy field. Because we our house was one of the first, my dad had the idea of building a fence around the entire property. The front yard was a fairly open fence like the one we see here. I remember when they put the sidewalks in, I used this fence to balance on trying to learn to ride a bike.
The back yard was different, more private, and served as a good barrier to keep me and the pets in the yard while keeping back things outside the yard. My dad always kept the front yard pretty nice. Grass always neatly cut and Mom had flowers out. A couple of pine trees and an oak tree were out there, and it was well kept.
The back yard was a bit different-
The grass was cut, but not as often as the front yard. All of our toys and bikes were in the back as well as our swing set. My mom preferred us playing back there so they knew where we were. My dad build a brick grill and had some lawn furniture out. We’d eat our meals back there sometimes. We had a dog- my beagle Snoopy so you had to watch where you stepped.
All of this was kept behind a fence- it served to separate us from the outside world.
The fence was the separation between the two spaces.
It was the barrier between the front, which everyone was allowed to see, and the back, which is where we lived.
This morning we are continuing our series I Love My Church and this concept of fences is going to play a big part in what we’ll see today as one of God’s plans for the church: that we would live connected lives. God wants us to live connected with Him and connected with one another.
God wants us to know true community. What do fences have to do with that? That’s what we’re going to talk about.
Turn in your bibles this morning to Hebrews
Let’s look at Hebrews 10:19-25:
“Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Before I unpack this, let’s go back to our fence.
Key concept- Let’s picture our lives as a yard.
If a lot of us were honest, we’d admit that we like a good fence.
What we are comfortable showing people and letting people know about in our lives is our front lawn— we keep our front lawn neat, manicured, great grass with no weeds showing. We even have a welcome mat at our front door, but if we are honest- it’s for decorative purposes only.
The front yard of our lives is what we show people.
But the backyard … that’s different. That’s the real us, and getting in there is by invite only.
This is where most of us build a fence. We build these fences because I’m not sure I want you to know what’s going on with the real me. I don’t want you to see the parts of my life that aren’t so pristine. I don’t want you to step in the dog piles. I don’t want you to see the weeds, or the mess back there. The backyard is private, because the backyard is me- who I really am.